Breaking the Stereotype | PCL

Breaking the Stereotype

The construction industry is often thought of as a “man’s world,” but the contributions made by the rising numbers of women entering the field make it a successful and rewarding industry to be a part of regardless of gender. With PCL's involvement in female outreach programs throughout the US, the organization is helping to diminish gender stereotypes.  

The Goldieblox toy is a powerful tool for developing
spatial skills.

A group of high school students learn the
importance of the design-build process through the
ACE Mentoring Program.

PCL is continuously trying to raise awareness about the career opportunities for women in the construction industry while focusing on three areas of outreach: Goldieblox; Architecture, Construction and Engineering (ACE) Mentor Program; and the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC).


The Goldieblox toy is modeled on a female engineer who is smart and curious; it has the potential to get young girls interested in the construction field, develop their spatial skills, and build self-confidence in their problem-solving abilities. Goldieblox aims to transform the pink aisle in toy stores and inspire a future generation of female engineers. The toy is intended for girls between the ages of five and nine. Stacey Bledsoe, PCL’s US director of human resource services, has fully embraced the Goldieblox philosophy. “If we can get young girls thinking about construction and building at a young age it is likely to spur their interest in construction later in life,” she said. 
PCL employees have shown huge excitement about the program. Throughout the US, PCL has hosted numerous Goldieblox events with outreach partners that include the Girl Scouts, Big Brothers / Big Sisters, Boys & Girls Clubs, City Year, Girls, Inc., and community after-school programs.  


The ACE Mentor Program was founded in 1994. Professionals from the architecture, construction, and engineering industries mentor high-school students and inspire them to pursue careers in design and construction. ACE is the construction industry’s fastest-growing high-school mentor program, with over 8,000 students participating annually; over one-third of the students are young women. The program has provided over $14 million in scholarships since its founding.
As the only after-school program that introduces high-school students to the full process of designing and building a project, ACE ignites passion and direction in the budding minds that will soon lead the architecture, construction, and engineering industries.
Paris Otremba, PCL’s human resources and professional development manager in Minneapolis, is the President of the Board for ACE in Minneapolis. “What I find most rewarding about ACE is seeing students, particularly girls, connect with our industry,” said Otremba. “They get to see real opportunities in the construction industry and learn about careers they may have otherwise not known about.”


The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) focuses on enhancing and advancing women’s careers in the construction industry. For more than 50 years, NAWIC has provided its members with opportunities for professional development, education, networking, leadership, training, public service, and more. PCL has teamed up with NAWIC on Habitat for Humanity home builds, marathon aid stations, as well as several networking opportunities.
Lourdes Lopez, a PCL project engineer in Phoenix, has been a member of NAWIC for four years and is currently vice president of the Phoenix Chapter. “NAWIC gives women the opportunity to grow in an industry dominated by men, and they’re leaving their mark on our country and our industry,” said Lopez.

PCL is continuing to move away from the construction industry stereotype of male dominance with the full support of our employees as we continue to move closer to a blended work environment where women are highly regarded and welcomed.


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